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Noctilucales
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Team: Ricardo Avella, Andrés Tabora, Michael Henriksen, Carla Betancourt, Silvia Mercader, Laura Vera, Oriana De Lucia, Martin Von Bülow, Laura Vivas, Miguel Rosas (representing: Tabora + Tabora Landscape Architecture, ATA avella taller de arquitectura, WavePiston)
Artist Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Energy Technologies: wave energy converter (by WavePistonTM)
Water Harvesting Technology: reverse osmosis desalination
Annual Capacity: 4,200 MWh, less the energy used for desalination (up to 14 million liters per year)

Open spaces are essential for an urban environment to reach balance. They are a form of escape—a place to get away from the chaos of the city.

Noctilucales preserves the horizon line of the ocean—the clean and uninterrupted view, where the sea stretches out before you until it meets the sky. To compromise the horizon is to destroy the landscape.

WavePistonTM has developed one of the less visually obtrusive wave energy technologies consisting of a network of moving plates installed along cables. The movement of the plates creates hydraulic pressure, which is converted into electricity. All of the components are submerged in the ocean, making the system invisible from shore. Only the small anchored buoys on either side of each WavePistonTM string can be seen on the horizon.

Noctilucales has two main elements—the submerged wave power farm with 200 energy collectors, and an extension of the Santa Monica Pier, increasing the surface of public space and providing a secure area for the turbine/generator and desalination plant.

Underwater LED lights on top of each moving plate will cast a subtle glow at night. The energy collectors will be seen as a field of lights, producing a bioluminescent effect similar to the one created by natural Noctilucales in some parts of the world.

The hydraulic pipe runs along the breakwater to a turbine station on the new pier extension. The generator is made visible, with a glass wall built on one side to show the jets as they hit the turbine. In this way, people will follow the conversion process inside one of six green cylindrical structures. The system will supply electricity for the pier and the bioluminescent installation. The surplus electricity feeds into the city grid.

Some of the wave energy is used to produce fresh water with reverse osmosis desalination. With the kinetic energy of the waves, the cost of desalination can be greatly reduced. Instead of using pumps and motors, the ocean waves are able to naturally create the necessary pressures with the movement of the plates.

The desalination plant is transparent to demonstrate the process to visitors, and drinking water fountains along the new pier provide a first taste of the fresh water produced.

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Ring Garden
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Team: Alexandru Predonu
Artist Location: Bucharest, Romania
Energy Technologies: photovoltaic panels, algae bioreactor
Water Harvesting Technology: solar powered osmotic desalination (with waste brine used to culture algae for livestock feed)
Annual Capacity: 440 MWh (100% goes to power desalination processes and rotate the Ring Garden)
60 million liters of drinking water (40 million liters goes to agricultural production)
18,000 Kg of aeroponic crop yield (conserves 331 million gallons of water)
5,000 Kg of spirulina biomass for livestock feed

Agriculture is the largest user of fresh water in California. Ring Garden demonstrates a solution by creating a highly efficient ecosystem including a desalination plant, a rotating aeroponics farm, and an algae bioreactor. It harvests seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water.

Seawater enters the desalination plant through special screens that protect fish and local wildlife. Solar panels power a high-pressure pump to pressurize seawater above the osmotic pressure and through a semi permeable membrane.

The plants in the rotating farm use 60% of the water produced. The remaining 30% is sent to the city grid. The brine water is fed through the bioreactor to produce cultures of spirulina that, once mature, are sent to an offsite plant to produce biomass.

The aeroponics system uses 98% less water than conventional farming and yields on average 30% more crops without the need for pesticides or fertilizers. Ring Garden demonstrates that the main elements a plant needs in order to grow—water, sun, nutrients, and CO2— are on site and don’t need to be transported.

Assisted by the power of the sun, the desalination plant provides fresh water and nutrients filtered from the seawater. On a footprint of about 1,000 m2 the farm can produce vegetables that would otherwise take 26,000 m2 of land and 340 million gallons of fresh water per year. Ring Garden consumes only nine million gallons of water per year. It saves 331 million gallons that would simply evaporate, which is water that can be redirected to 2,300 households.

The farm rotation reflects the movement of the Pacific Ferris wheel on the pier, and ensures that each “spoke” of planted area receives the appropriate amount of sunlight. The plant supports have a swivel mechanism that uses gravity to keep the plants always facing upward.

The structure is oriented south for best sun exposure. Ring Garden is tilted approximately 8.5 degrees so that on Earth Day (April 22) the sun seen from the Santa Monica Pier will set through the middle of the wheel.

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Sun Towers

Sun Towers
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: BLDA Architects (John Perry, Matteo Melioli, Ramone Dixon, Terie Harrison, Kristina Butkute), XCO2 Consultants (Tom Kordel, Sherleen Pang, Kostas Mastronikolaou), Steven Scott Studio (Steven Scott)
Artist Location: London, UK
Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic Panels, Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter, Tidal Turbine
Water Harvesting Technologies: Solar Distillation, Reverse Osmosis Desalination
Annual Capacity: 4,000 MWh and 110 million liters of drinking water

The year 2016 marks a special occasion for Santa Monica. It is the 100-year birthday of the Looff Hippodrome, the gloriously eclectic carousel building that is one of the few features of Charles Looff’s Pleasure Pier that remains to delight visitors today. It seems appropriate to propose a new landmark to celebrate this centennial interval in Santa Monica’s history.

Towers of Sun is a new type of desalination plant where low-tech solar distillation is prioritized and supplemented by renewably driven reverse osmosis. Power plant and people assimilate in an uplifting visual experience, where vertical, active, and intelligent systems constantly assess and recalibrate the local dynamic environment.

The design responds directly to the eccentricity of the site and the city. By day, opaque, elegant solar antennae float on a current of energy, strategically positioned to directly respond to the local micro-climatic conditions. By night a tantalizing glimpse of striking form and color is revealed!

An extension of the promenade optimizes views to an extended sea space facing southwest, then navigates the visitor back along the loop to exciting views of the mountains and City of Santa Monica. The panoramic terrace, located at the heart of the plant, will support a dynamic public learning center, inspired by the interpretive elements at the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF). Visitors can stroll along a unique panorama, up close to the elegant sun towers, where the drama, suspense, and beauty of solar desalination are performed.



Each solar tower is a steel and glass structure that contains a vertical stack of water vessels. Solar energy heats and evaporates the seawater from the vessels, which then condensates and falls to the base of the tower.

Photovoltaic cells are grouped upon vertical masts as a screen, which rotates to follow the sun path. Energy surplus generated by the photovoltaic panels is used to power a micro desalination plant, situated at the bottom of the tower.

At the base of each tower is a buoy on the water’s surface that rises and falls with the waves. The action drives a pump system that compresses the seawater until it reaches the solar water vessels. Tidal turbines are invisible below the water’s surface to provide supplemental electricity.

This multi-dimensional installation celebrates the power of light and the energy of the ocean in all their myriad variations.

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The Pipe

The Pipe
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Abdolaziz Khalili, Puya Kalili, Laleh Javaheri, Iman Khalili, Kathy Kiany (Khalili Engineers)
Artist Location: Vancouver, Canada
Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic Panels
Water Harvesting Technologies: Electromagnetic Desalination
Annual Capacity: 10,000 MWh to generate 4.5 billion liters of drinking water

From the beach, a gleaming pipe floats in the horizon. It’s a testament to our time and reminds us about our dependence on water and about our need to appreciate and value this vital gift. It also teaches us that water is plenty and nature provides. We just need to learn to work with it, keep it clean, and appreciate it.

Multiple pools of hot and cold, crystal-clear saltwater invite visitors to experience a ritual that takes them away from the stress of daily life. Relaxing on the pool deck, listening to the sound of the waves, and looking out to the ocean, visitors can be blissfully unaware of the seamless technology at work all around them.

Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water. The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.

Water never leaves our planet. Rather it is simply displaced. Fresh water finds impurities and becomes temporarily unfit for consumption. These impurities can be visible or invisible. The visible particles can be filtered with basic procedures. It is the invisible impurities (dissolved solids) that make filtration complicated and costly.

Conventional desalination technology such as reverse osmosis uses excessive electricity, generates unwanted industrial waste and polluted water, and requires very expensive machinery.

Ninety-seven percent of seawater is pure water and only three percent is dissolved solids. All dissolved solids in water become ionized and can therefore be controlled through electromagnetic energy. Electromagnetic filtration uses an isolated electromagnetic field on pipes circulating seawater, separating the salts and impurities. The process is rapid and energy efficient.

What results are two products: pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with twelve percent salinity. The drinking water is piped to shore, while the salt water supplies the thermal baths before it is redirected back to the ocean through a smart release system, mitigating most of the usual problems associated with returning brine water to the sea.

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